“Obviously, there is nothing certain in law, but we feel very confident in our position,” he said. “At the end of the day, the voters will decide what they want to do.”
Wednesday’s hearing was the latest salvo in a pitched battle between Eagle’s Landing residents, some of whom want to break away from Stockbridge, and Stockbridge leaders, who want to keep the community whole.
To become a city, Eagle’s Landing would take about half of what is now Stockbridge — including about 55 percent of its businesses — under the proposal.
Eagle’s Landing backers argue that they can better guide their community — including attracting high-paying jobs and improving services — as a city separate from Stockbridge. Stockbridge leaders said that allowing Stockbridge to be de-annexed and its territory taken by another city — a first in Georgia — could lead to other communities breaking away from their home cities, such as Buckhead seceding from Atlanta.
Supporters and opponents of the referendum have been holding almost weekly meetings throughout their communities, trying to educate and persuade voters before the Nov. 6 election.
Stockbridge mayor Anthony Ford said he was disappointed by Wednesday’s ruling, but that the cause is not lost. Ford said the city is still considering filing a federal lawsuit, but had not finalized those plans.
“I thought today would go better for us … but we’re not going to give up the fight,” he said. “Obviously, no matter what the decision was today, we were going to go to the Georgia Supreme Court. So I’m still optimistic.”